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Semi, A.A. (1993). Writing Psychoanalysis. Rivista Psicoanal., 39(2):95-114.

(1993). Rivista di Psicoanalisi, 39(2):95-114

Writing Psychoanalysis

Antonio Alberto Semi

The theme of “writing psychoanalysis” is at once clearly delimited and quite broad. However, before dealing with the more specific question of writing psychoanalysis, the main focus of this paper, I would like to make a few observations on the broader issue of writing, that is, the problems that writing itself, from its very origins, has posed for mankind. It must have been a truly ecstatic moment when man understood that a concrete fact - a mark on a tablet or a rock, a carving on a tree - could be linked to a thought. No activity is more consistently symbolic than writing and no activity more consistently recalls the original reality of the symbol, in both its material and psychic make-up.

Narrowing the field, I will give only two examples drawn from our two main cultural roots: ancient Greece and Judaism. Indeed, these two cultures - or some of their important representatives - have dealt, in quite different ways, with the problems and possibilities offered by writing.

The classic reference point of the Greek tradition is a text by Plato on writing. I have taken the liberty of citing it at length because, at least two passages, concern us quite closely.

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